If you've taken any leadership course or just about any personal development program, you have probably seen this quadrant breakdown for managing time. Stephen Covey uses it to help describe the categories all of our actions might fall into during the course of a day.
When we are most stressed, feeling at our max, we have found ourselves working or living only in Quadrant I or even II. When we find ourselves falling behind, felling sluggish, we may have found ourselves camping out in Quadrant IV. Think about how energized you feel spending time in Quadrant II.
Now, think about some people around you. Find someone who lives in quadrant IV. How would you describe them? Find the one that lives primarily in quadrant I, how would you describe them and do you enjoy being around them or working with them? And what about the person who only lives in quadrant II but never in the other areas?
The goal in life and work of course is to find your balance between the quadrants, and by balance I don't mean equal time in each. Your balance is going to look differently than my balance, and it will shift depending on the day or time of year. You cannot fully avoid any one of the quadrants during your life, nor should you! But balancing them in your own way is key.
Steven asks you to find one small change in your life or work that you can reasonably make that would make a huge difference in your life one year from now. Think about that one change and where it takes you in the quadrants. See if you can swap some of your activities from other areas to spend more time on that change. Know that this won't be easy. It might require spending money or time delegating tasks to other people, or building up technology to take over an aspect of your workload (database work, online set-ups, etc). But it is important to remember how much those efforts will payoff in the long haul.
The take away? Do not put off the efforts in quadrant II, as easy and tempting as it might be! Find ways to ensure you are spending time on the important but not urgent tasks, because the time is passing anyways and these tasks really are the ones that make life enjoyable and allow you to launch yourself forward in big huge steps.